Lipo with Local Anesthesia is it really dangerous? Is Lipo with General Anesthesia more dangerous than the Local?

Hi, I'm 18 years old. I'm about to make a very important decision, I went to the doctor today to do an evaluation of my body, to do an lipo with local anesthesia. He explained to me everything about this type of surgery, but I'm still not sure about it. I heard a lot of story's of girls that died doing this type of surgery, especially the only with General Anesthesia... I'm really scared but also that is my "dream".

Doctor Answers 11

Liposuction, VASER Hi Definition Liposuction / Body Contouring: Local or General Anesthesia

The answer depends on how much fat you are hoping to have removed. If its a small voume, local anesthesia is perfectly safe in the hands of an expert and will shorten your recovery time. General anesthesia should be used in larger volume and VASER HI DEF 4D contouring procedures.  Liposuction is major surgery and absolutely must be performed by a board-certified expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Loopy dear local

liposuction is surgery and therefore it has risks. Local anesthesia can be  used or you can have anesthesia. The risks of the surgery are the same. There are risks to anesthesia but they are rare with experienced anesthesiologist. What can be very dangerous is taking large doses of medication by mouth and not having a anesthesia provider monitoring you. Often  a physician recommends llocal anesthesia when they don't have privileges to do surgery with anesthesia. Check their credentials

Ralph M. Rosato, MD
Vero Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Liposuction anesthesia

the risk of anesthesia related complications is extraordinarily low regardless of whether you do tumescent anesthesia alone, IV sedation, or general anesthesia.

I personally do not like trying to do a liposuction case without at least IV sedation (like you'd get for wisdom tooth extraction or a colonoscopy). Trying to do these cases just using the local anesthesia in tumescent fluid is very uncomfortable for many patients for all but the smallest cases. For stand-alone liposuction cases we do most under deep IV sedation with an anesthesiologist/CRNA as it lets the patient be discharged sooner with less nausea then general anesthesia. With prone (face down) cases of significant length of time, we often may use general anesthesia for better airway protection depending on the patient's size

Robert Oliver Jr., MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Type of anesthesia for Liposuction

Liposuction done under general or local anesthetic is typically a safe procedure.   This is particularly the case when a  board certified plastic surgeon ( American Society of plastic surgeons)  performs your surgery in an accredited facility upon a healthy patient.  I typically will perform Liposuction under Local anesthesia when the amount of anticipated liposuction is small and typically in a single area. When the volume of liposuction is larger and/or involves multiple areas then I typically will do the surgery  under general anesthesia 

John Paletta, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Sorting out the risks of liposuction

If performed by an experienced Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), liposuction is extremely safe. It is safe to perform liposuction in an office setting under local anesthesia alone if the total fatty aspiration is less than one liter. However larger volumes of fatty aspirate (between one to four liters) should be performed in an accredited ambulatory surgery center under some form of anesthesia appropriately monitored by certified anesthesia personnel. I would recommend limiting the total fatty aspirate to 4 liters in any single session. Utilizing these guidelines the procedure is extremely safe. Keep in mind that most of the horror stories of liposuction occur when these guidelines are not adhered to and the procedure is performed by doctors not certified by the ABPS. Best of luck!

Jeffrey K. Scott, MD
Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Liposuction - local or general anesthesia

Thank you for asking about your liposuction.

  • You are smart to take time in making your decision.
  • Both local anesthesia liposuction and general anesthesia liposuction are very very safe if done by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon doing your surgery in an accredited out-patient surgery center.
  • People have died from liposuction - almost always when it is done by doctors who are not trained in plastic surgery.
  • If you chose a qualified plastic surgeon who uses an accredited out patient surgery center, chances are you will be fine.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

A small area of liposuction would be ok with local anesthesia but almost always it is better and safer with general anesthsia

While it is ok to do a small area of liposuction with local anesthesia, I feel it is safer and less painful to perform liposuction under general anesthesia. Make sure your surgeon is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and your surgery is preformed in a certified out patient facility or a hospital. If your skin is tight you might consider CoolSculpting which is a process of freezing your fat pockets with out any anesthesia or surgery. CoolSculpting can get rid of 20-25 % of your fat pockets and can be repeated. 

Carl W. "Rick" Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Lipo with local anesthesia

Thank you for your question.  Review of Pictures needed to comment. Lipo with local or general equally safe provided we follow some principles. Please make sure the physician you are picking is board certified plastic surgeon. I do it all the time lipo in our office with local. Good luck

Ven Erella, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews


Thank you for your question. When using local there is only a certain amount that you can use safely on a patient. This is partially determined by their weight. If you are doing a small area, this may be an option. If you're doing multiple areas in my opinion some type of general anesthesia would be safer. When using just local the patient will still feel areas of discomfort which they will not feel if they have some type of general anesthesia. In my practice we use an excellent Doctor anesthesiologist who performs LMA Anesthesia. This stands for laryngeal mask airway. With this type of anesthesia the patient is breathing through an airway device. They are not paralyzed. 

Joshua Halpern, MD, PA
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Lipo with Local Anesthesia is it really dangerous? Is Lipo with General Anesthesia more dangerous than the Local?

Without photos and the benefit of physical exam- its difficult to give you the best answer. Generally speaking, I personally prefer General Anesthesia in a Certified Outpatient Facility as it is the safest and most reliable way to deliver this type of service. Make sure to check with American Board of Plastic Surgery to see if the Surgeon you are considering is Board Certified.

Thomas Trevisani, Sr., MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.